Re: Some misconceptions - Answers from VA pov
The idea is that only what the shAstrA says is to be followed. And even if you argue that both are same, one must first study both vaishnava and shaiva traditions to see if the phalan of such meditation, with respect to gunAnubhava and siddhAnthA is the same or different. This can be achieved only by reading the works of such upAsakAs.
Originally Posted by sanathan
Classical vedAntA, right from the time of adi shankara to madhusudhana saraswati, never posited a theory of equality between Vishnu and Shiva, or any other deva for that matter. All advaitins, vishishtadvaitins and dvaitins have only upheld the sarvOttamam of nArAyaNa. The exception to this was Appayya Dikshita and even he held the view that Shiva was sarvOttamam, with Vishnu and Ambika as the male and female 'shaktis' (and not vishnu = shiva). So, I find it extremely curious when some people claim that they have realised this 'aikya' by misinterpreting a few purAnic incidents and stray vAkyas and who claim to be above these vedAntins, who spent years and years of study on the vedA and vedAngAs!
These vedAntins also established sufficient proofs of the tAmasatva of certain purAnAs, and do not just quote the 'sattva, rajas, tamas' verses from padma purAnA. Ironically, the first vedAntin to quote a tAmasa purAnA was srI parAshara bhattar, and he was a Vishishtadvaitin/Sri Vaishnava acharya! If we even try to present these proofs, you know what an uproar it will cause here!
Many ithihAsAs like Tripura SamhArA and BAnAsura charitrA also contain meanings that establish the difference between shiva and vishnu. I do not care to post them here mainly because there is no scope for intelligent discussion amongst sarvamatha sammatha vAdhis.
Among non-vaidikas, shaiva siddhAntha and pAsupata matham accepted shiva as sarvOttama, but did not have a coherent system, ie, they simply ignored certain portions of vedA and took other portions as authoritative. For which reason, they are rejected as a-vaidika in the brahma sutras.
You will have to accept the position of vaishnava or shaiva to even begin an understanding of shAstrA. Sarvamatham sammatam is not the philosophy of vedAnTA or non-vedAntic shaivas.
The likes of Tulasidas, etc, while possessing merit on their own level, are only propagators of general bhakti and do not have a coherent system of vedAntA, ie, reconciliation of the prasthna traya. So, these works are not valid in a philosophical framework. In any case, the rAma bhakti of tulasidas is due to his schooling by rAmAnanda, who himself was highly influenced by the rAma kalyAna gunAnubhava in the works of Sri Pillai Lokacharya, a sri vaishnava acharya. His works at times read like a translation of Sri Lokacharya's works. Thus, even popular rAma bhakti in the north is partially influenced by Vishishtadvaita and Dvaita, whether you like it or not. Which means, it is very much worthwhile to study the traditions that constitute the root cause!
[CENTER][COLOR="Black"][COLOR="Red"][COLOR="DarkRed"]No holiness rules over my freedom
No commands from above I obey
I seek the ruin, I shake the worlds
Behold! I am blackest ov the black
Ov khaos I am, the disobediant one
Depraved son who hath dwelt in nothingness
Upon the ninth I fell, from grace up above
To taste this life ov sin, to give birth to the "I"[/COLOR][/COLOR][/COLOR]
[B]~ "Blackest Ov the Black" - Behemoth.[/B]